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Anyone who knows water wells please help.

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by bfunk13, Nov 2, 2012.

  1. bfunk13

    bfunk13 Minister of Fire

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    My Dad called this afternoon and wanted to gauge his well.
    There is a gravel pit nearby and they are drilling a well and estimated usage is 25 gallons a minute 24/7.
    So, everyone in the area was told to gauge their well first if any reservoir problems arise.

    We tied a plumb bob on the end of a rope and headed south, i asked if he wanted to go to the bottom to get a total well depth. He said yes, we finally found bottom and went to pull the rope and bob up, after 14 feet or so it got stuck. We tugged fairly hard and no give. The plumb bob is round on all corners and no sharp edges that might get hung up. Not sure if this was a good idea or not but we cut a piece of pipe smaller than the bob and threaded it through the rope, dropped it down the rope thinking it might knock it loose. No luck! The sun was setting so we tied the rope off to work on tomorrow. Any ideas what we got hung up on and how to fix? When going downhole there were a couple places we had to fish around something , but it continued to drop. Any suggestions would be great, thanks

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  2. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

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    Probably got tangled around or wedged between the wire & pipe.
    May have to pull the pump.
    disconnect the wires, mine has a rope , lift the pipe out of the "pitless adapter"
    Pull up & remove sections of pipe as you pull it up.
    Big tall "A" frame with a pulley up top is a real big help.
    Call a well service is easiest ;)
    They are set up to do it easy.

    You will need to chorine the well afterward to kill all the bacteria from handling it.
    I pour in a gallon of clorox, let it set an hour or 2, then hook a garden hose at the pressure tank & flush the chlorine out. ;)

    Google search; Few pictures here:
    http://search.yahoo.com/search?ei=utf-8&fr=aaplw&p=water well parts
  3. bfunk13

    bfunk13 Minister of Fire

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    ok, thanks for the help!
    Any problems with leaving it how it is?
    Any ballpark idea what a well service would charge?
  4. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

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    As long as you got it lifted up out of range of the pump, no problems.
    No idea on minimum basic call out price or pump pull , but shop around.
    Not as bad as you think though. WAG: $200. Hours worth of work for those guys.
  5. bfunk13

    bfunk13 Minister of Fire

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    Might be worth $200 just to get it done.
    What a pain.
    Thanks Dave
  6. ROVERT

    ROVERT Member

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    What ever you do, don't drop the rope down the well. If you do, it stands a good chance of creating a great big bird's nest around the pump. When that happens, pulling the pump is not a $200 endeavor. I've done one where we had to set up a tripod and use an electric hoist to pull the pump. How we didn't pull the pipe apart I don't know, I guess we got lucky considering the circumstances. I'm not a fan of pump rope. I've never had to pull one by the rope, but I have seen the rope cause problems on multiple occasions.

    Around here, the vast majority of pumps are hung on polyethylene pipe. If yours is and it isn't too deep, I'd say pull it and get the stuff out of there that doesn't belong. If it's on iron pipe or sections of pvc I'd consider leaving your plumb bob at the bottom if you used a rope that isn't prone to decay/rot.

    If you only managed to pull it back up 14 feet from the bottom, I'd say the plumb bob slid down past the pump, but is getting hung up on the pump coming back up. If you're not tangled with any wires/rope/spacers/torque arrestors/etc, you could try threading a pull pipe into the pitless and just lifting it a little bit and wiggling it around while someone else tries to pull the plumb bob out. You might get lucky. I'm not sure that having that extra piece of pipe down there is going to do you any favors, but it might come out.

    How deep is the well?
  7. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Just leave the thing. It isn't causing a problem in the well. What the hell is all this pull the pump stuff about? There is a plumb bob down there doing nothing.
  8. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    My deep well pump failed three years ago. The idiots that came out to replace it couldn't pull it out of the casing so I had to do it for them. With my garden tractor. Bunch of wimps. And they still wanted to charge me 50 percent more than the estimate because it was hard to get out.

    Leave the plumb bob down there and tie it off. A non-event. Or just cut the rope and let it drop to the bottom when it wants to.
  9. ROVERT

    ROVERT Member

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    That's a really bad idea. How many pumps have you pulled? Trust me, loose rope down a well can be a nightmare. Tying it off could be an option if the rope isn't likely to rot/decay and end up falling down the well.

    Pulling pumps of less than 150' or so on flexible pipe is easy enough to do by hand that I would get it out of there now rather than have a potentially large headache down the road when the pump dies, inevitably on a weekend or holiday. If it is not a simple job to pull the pump (deep, hanging on rigid pipe, or both) I would consider leaving it in there and tying it off.

    If you are going to pull it yourself, don't do it over the weekend. Wait until Monday... or Sunday evening. That way if you run into any problems you're not going to have to call someone out at weekend rates.
  10. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Agree on the tangle mess with the rope. I have only pulled two pumps.
  11. bfunk13

    bfunk13 Minister of Fire

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    Thanks for the info.
    I have not talked with my dad yet today to see what he found (working weekends)
    He did say the pump was 10 years old and will likely need replaced in the next few years anyways.
    I am thinking leave it tied off and forget about it. If i hear anything else i will update. Thanks again.
  12. homebrewz

    homebrewz Minister of Fire

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    The mining company should have done a well survey and measured this for area landowners. DTW (depth to water) is easily measured with either an M-scope or sonar device, though I'm not sure if the piping would give false readings on the sonar tool.

    That 25 GPM is probably for washing gravel. Hopefully they are constructing settling ponds to recover the used water, thus not drawing from the well all of the time.
    midwestcoast and bfunk13 like this.
  13. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    There was no reason to measure to the bottom of the well, that has no meaning so you shouldn't have done that. Well drillers also log the depth info since they are required to and usually paid by the foot. The water surface level is important. Static and while pumping at the rated flow of the well.

    But now you have trash in your casing. That stringy rope is my concern. I doubt it was sanitized and also the rotten fibres can get sucked into your pump. Worse case is it trashes your pump and then you put in a replacement and trash the replacement since the rope is still down there floating aroudn like seaweed.

    Pull the pump and as you are raising the pump try and work that rope out of there. If, as you pull the pump, the rope and plumbbob come free then drop the pump back down and sanitize the well.

    It is not cheap to get a pump lifted in my area. An hour each way for travel, couple of guys for a few hours to get the job done, fuel for their truck, you are easily past 1000$. For this reason I have been to a few "pump pulling" parties, all with poly pipe, where we take turns lifting while the other men carry the pipe away trying not to drag it through dog crap. Once you start lifting the pump, you need to go all the way since if you let go the whole thing drops.

    25 gpm isn't that much water. I am working on a well right now that pumps at 2100 gpm. The normal wells in town are 1000 gpm and under 400 feet deep. Normal house meters pass 15gpm or so.
  14. peakbagger

    peakbagger Minister of Fire

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    I installed my own deep well pump and string about 15 years ago. I did everything solo and the pump is set at 280 feet deep. A friend of mine sold wholesale plumbing and heating equipment and he lent me a special rig that mounted on top of the well casing for pulling strings, it basically was a trailer wheel rim without a tire that was mounted so that when the well string was pulled up it lines up with the face of the wheel. Once it went over the wheel I could pull the string sideways and the flanges on the wheel guided everything. It was an upper body workout for sure but not that bad. The biggest hassle was getting the pitless adaptor lined up.
  15. midwestcoast

    midwestcoast Minister of Fire

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    I'm no help on the plumb-bob, but...
    If his well starts going dry or fills with sediment he'll be looking to the grav co. to fix it right? So he'll go to them with some numbers you got with a plumb-bob & they'll decide whether to pay to re-drill or modify the well or just ignore him.
    How about calling the neighbors & together tell the grav co. to do a well survey & issue the findings to the residents? If they see some folks paying attention, they may decide to pay for the survey to protect themselves against false claims.
    Otherwise you can rent a water level meter & do it on your own in 10 minutes. Take careful notes with as much info as possible. Date, times, locations, names, conditions, equipment used, proceedures... all the stuff that seems obvious while you're right there doing it, but won't remember later. Maybe video the whole thing?
    These are dead simple to use & you can rent from a bunch of places & get them shipped to you:
    http://www.fieldenvironmental.com/solinst-water-level-meter-102.php
    http://ashtead-technology.com/product/instruments/solinst_101_200ft_wlm/
    Clean it with bleach solution as you run it in down.

    My parents live near expanding gravel pits. Their well hasn't been affected, but some springs that have run clear since at least 1916 have been silting-up a lot. Maybe from re-injections wells.
  16. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    Before making any demands of the gravel company I'd make sure you have legal standing. Water rights vary from region to region and the gravel company may have every right to just start pumping water without notifying those nearby. They may be trying to be good neighbor to avoid issues later on.
    I guess I'm just suggesting you tread carefully.

    On the plumb bob rope, if its nylon or other synthetic I'd forget about it. Its cold and dark in a well. Things don't decay readily under those conditions.

    As Highbeam mentioned, 25 GPM is not that much flow so its unlikely to affect nearby wells unless the water bearing formation is very "tight" (i.e. low hydraulic conductivity like clay or fine silt). I would not expect a gravel quarry to be located in a tight formation.
  17. midwestcoast

    midwestcoast Minister of Fire

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    Pretty good point there ;em
  18. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Some gravel quarries are not looking to mine loose rocks and soil but to blast huge walls out of solid rock and then crush that into gravel or into a larger prodcut like rip-rap or railroad ballast. This way you get strong fractured gravel and not a bunch of pea gravel. So maybe the quarry is in solid rock and maybe it is in a natural sand and gravel area. Pretty huge swing in conductivity.
  19. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    Agreed but rock formations are rarely solid. The overall hydraulic conductivity of fractured bedrock is likely much higher than silt or clay. All wells in these circumstances (bedrock) rely upon intersecting the conductive fractures and preferential flow. It would highly highly unlikely that the quarries pumping of 25 gpm would affect nearby wells unless they tapped that same flow channel.
  20. bfunk13

    bfunk13 Minister of Fire

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    It is a hard nylon rope and like i said the pump is 10+ years old already.
    I agree it was a stupid thing to do, gauging from the bottom up.
    Should have dropped 20' and pulled up to see if the level was there yet.
    As far as i know he is just going to leave it and wait for the pump to go bad.
    I will chalk it up to ignorance and inexperience and never do it that way again.
    Thanks for the replies!

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